House hunting can be an overwhelming task, but walking into it prepared will make it both a positive and rewarding experience. So as spring approaches and house-hunting season heats up, use these tips to help get you moving in the right direction when buying a home.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: location, location, location. It’s critical to have some boundaries in mind when choosing an area where you want to live. Think about how far you’re really willing to commute to work, or to see your family. What are the local schools, hospitals and community centers like? Is there access to public transportation, and is that important? The perfect home in a sub-par location won’t be perfect for long.
2. Get Pre-Approved
Don’t guess how much you can spend, find your dream house in the perfect location, and then realize later that it’s too expensive. Get pre-approved for a mortgage before beginning your house hunt, and know exactly how much you have for a down payment, closing costs, emergency repairs, and a little left over just in case. Then look for a house that fits your budget, and no more.
3. Use A Local Real Estate Agent
When you’re buying a home, using an experienced professional to help you with your house hunt is always recommended; it’s even better if you use one who specializes in the neighborhood you want to live in. They will be familiar with home prices in the area, and local amenities. They will also help you navigate your way through negotiations and all the paperwork that comes with a sale, saving you a lot of time and hassle. And because the seller pays for the buyer’s agent, you have nothing to lose.
4. Check Your Emotions At The Door
When viewing a home, look past the dirty carpet and tattered furniture. Imagine yourself living there, with your furniture, artwork and paint colors. Take note of things like broken appliances, an old washer and dryer and missing shelves in the refrigerator. These things can help you negotiate a better price, and get you a great house in a great neighborhood for the right price.